What is a business plan and why do I need one?

A business plan is a road map for the direction of your company; it specifically defines your business and clearly states your goals. In addition, a good business plan is a crucial part of any loan package because it provides specific and organized information about your company and how you will repay borrowed money. Basic business plan components include:

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Concept
  • Products and Services
  • Market Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Operations
  • Ownership, Management and Organizational Plan
  • Financial Data
  • Critical Risks
  • Appendices/exhibits

The SBDCNet Clearinghouse has an excellent index of business planning resources and sample business plans by industry.  Also visit our Open Source Business Library to access helpful resources for writing your business plan effectively.